CIFOR–ICRAF publishes over 750 publications every year on agroforestry, forests and climate change, landscape restoration, rights, forest policy and much more – in multiple languages.

CIFOR–ICRAF addresses local challenges and opportunities while providing solutions to global problems for forests, landscapes, people and the planet.

We deliver actionable evidence and solutions to transform how land is used and how food is produced: conserving and restoring ecosystems, responding to the global climate, malnutrition, biodiversity and desertification crises. In short, improving people’s lives.

Grant Trains African Scientists to Improve Regionally Important Crops

DAVIS, Calif. (May 24, 2023) – Africa’s population is projected to quadruple this century, making food security a pressing need for the continent. While Africa is abundant with crops, African farmers need crop breeding tools and training to be self-sustainable and achieve nutritional security. To advance crop breeding and mobilize innovation for regional crops, the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) is awarding a $1 million grant to University of California, Davis (UC Davis) to create and deliver a CRISPR Course on gene editing through UC Davis’ African Plant Breeding Academy, an initiative of the African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC). The Course is training 80 African scientists to develop improved regional crop varieties with the characteristics required for successful crop production and nutrition. UC Davis, Bayer Crop Sciences and Syngenta Seeds are providing matching funds for a total $2 million investment.

“Africa is rich with local crops that have the potential to provide accessible, affordable nutritional security for millions,” said Dr. Saharah Moon Chapotin, FFAR executive director. “This research helps ensure food security by advancing the nutritional value and other desired traits in local crops, while also bolstering the scientific workforce across Africa. This project is a win-win for local communities across the continent.”

CRISPR, which enables targeted gene edits to promote desired traits in crops, is an efficient process that is democratizing crop breeding around the world. UC Davis, in partnership with Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI, UC Berkeley), CIFOR-World Agroforestry and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), seeks to broaden the acceptance of the technology in Africa and expand its application to the continent’s regional crops. UC Davis has recruited 11 scientists from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria and Sudan to participate in an intensive five-year program that enhances knowledge and skills to fast-track development of new sources of vital traits in food crops using CRISPR technology. The first of five classes began in January 2023 and will graduate in October 2023.

The Course is led by Director of Capacity Development and Mobilization for the AOCC, Dr. Rita Mumm, with key instructors Dr. David Savage of IGI and Dr. Leena Tripathi of IITA. Through interactive classroom instruction and hands-on laboratory training delivered by world-class experts and practitioners, participants receive the knowledge and skills needed to successfully promote desired traits – such as disease resistance, stress tolerance, added nutrition and prolonged shelf life – in regionally relevant crops. The Course encourages participants to work with a crop aligned to their national and institutional priorities. Furthermore, the Course is also a “train the trainer” program, preparing participants to teach others with the goal of developing a community of practice across the continent.

Recruitment outreach is aimed at representing and providing benefit to as many African countries as possible and equal gender representation. Graduates of the program will receive up to $15,000 to enhance their current labs with equipment to jumpstart gene editing in their programs. They will also receive postgraduation mentorship for at least one year.

“CRISPR can be a powerful tool for improving regional crops and making them more resilient to diseases and a changing climate. Programs like this ensure that these new approaches can be accessed by plant breeders and farmers where they are needed most,” said Dr. Jennifer Doudna, 2020 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Professor at UC Berkeley and founder of IGI.

Other partners include the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD, UM6P Ventures, Morrison and Foerster, International Livestock Research Institute and Biosciences for Africa.

Dr. Allen Van Deynze, director of the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center and Scientific Director for the AOCC, said, “This course directly complements our African Plant Breeding Academy that has trained now 153 African Plant Breeders. CRISPR graduates are connected to these plant breeders from National Agricultural Research System programs (NARS) to create an international community of practice on plant breeding that amplifies their impact.”

Building a network of scientists skilled in CRISPR editing will help position Africa as a key contributor on the global stage in this frontier of crop development. In turn, U.S. scientists, plant breeders, growers and consumers will benefit from access to improved germplasm, new trait sources and enhanced technologies for a diverse set of crops to broaden American diets.


Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research
The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.


Source article: Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research


CIFOR-ICRAF hosts inaugural Partner Day at Science Week 2023

Photo by Ricky Martin/CIFOR-ICRAF

By Nabiha Shahab

The Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) held a new event called ‘Partner Day’ during its 2023 edition of Science Week on May 10th.

Science Week, an annual event, brings together CIFOR-ICRAF’s staff from all over the world to exchange knowledge and insights on crucial global issues within their mandate. This year’s theme, ‘Equity in Action’, provided a unique opportunity to learn about CIFOR-ICRAF’s commitment to equity and inclusion and how their work addresses the global challenge of inequality in collaboration with communities, partners and governments.

The inaugural Partner Day celebrated the contributions of CIFOR-ICRAF’s work with partners to just transitions and equitable transformations in Indonesia. It showcased and reflected on achievements to date, explored ways to enhance existing partnerships and identified new areas for future collaboration.

“The partnership that has been built, has certainly been a powerful one, with personal relationship, friendship and innovation. We are all friends here, we all partners and we are working for the future,” said Robert Nasi, CIFOR-ICRAF’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) in a welcome address, highlighting the significance of the organization’s work in Indonesia for the global forest sector.

“To ensure sustainability, overcoming intergenerational conflict is vital, and a social system that supports decision-making which takes into account the benefits to future generations is critically important,” said Arif Satria, the rector of Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) – one of CIFOR-ICRAF’s strategic partners engaged in collaborative projects to promote sustainability sciences – in a keynote speech.

IPB is part of the Trade Hub consortium led by CIFOR-ICRAF in Indonesia, which aims to promote sustainable trade and address challenges faced by smallholder farmers in the palm oil sector, explained Satria, adding that IPB’s activities there include capacity building, strengthening programs and the development of knowledge products.

Ary Sudijanto, Director-General of the Agency for Standardization of Environment and Forestry Instruments (ASEFI), recognized the longstanding collaboration between the Indonesian government and CIFOR-ICRAF in addressing challenges and improving the country’s forestry sector. “The form of cooperation that is carried out is not only research, but also capacity building, information and expertise exchange,” he said. “The locus of cooperation covers several regions spread throughout Indonesia.”

He listed some key activities that have resulted from the partnership, including the development of the Indonesian National Carbon Accounting System (INCAS), the Haze Free Sustainable Livelihoods Project (HFSLP), the Sustainable Wetlands Adaptation and Mitigation Program (SWAMP), the improvement of governance, policy and institutional arrangements for UN-backed climate mitigation scheme REDD+ and the national arm of the Global Comparative Study on REDD+.

Collaboration for regional green growth planning

In a panel focusing on promoting green growth for improved food security and livelihoods, speakers explored different green growth strategies and initiatives being implemented with the support of research conducted in partnership with CIFOR-ICRAF. The partners shared their experiences in implementing approaches towards sustainable land use and management, improving food security and livelihoods.

Regina Ariyanti, Head of the Regional Planning Agency (BAPPEDA) for South Sumatra, shared insights into the collaboration between the provincial government and CIFOR-ICRAF in the development of a master plan for green growth in the province. She recalled how the partnership began when South Sumatra was hit by severe forest fires in 2015. “ICRAF calculated how much [carbon] loss occurred due to forest fires in the province and helped address some of the challenges from being put in the spotlight, since South Sumatra contributed a lot to smoke and haze at the time.”

One of the current initiatives to reduce emissions is the provincial REDD+ project. The province has received a challenge from the president to keep economic growth in line with emission reductions. This means that economic growth of 7% must be achieved alongside emission reductions of 29%, with an additional contribution of 41% from other countries, said Ariyanti.

Panels on restoration and trade

The afternoon of Partner Day opened with a panel on landscape restoration, with a particular focus on carbon-rich ecosystems like wetlands – including peatlands and mangroves – which face significant pressure for conversion to other uses. Restoring these ecosystems is crucial for mitigating climate change and sea-level rise. The panel discussed mitigation and adaptation measures, highlighting their potential to improve the livelihoods of local communities.

The last panel of the day focused on trade and the new EU anti-deforestation regulation. The trading bloc recently issued a new law to prevent companies from trading commodities linked with deforestation and forest degradation within or from the EU. The session focused on navigating the new regulation, its implications, and the way forward for global trade, the environment, and smallholder farmers. Insights were shared from consumer and producer countries, civil society organizations (CSOs) and research organizations, with palm oil and timber highlighted as case studies.

Overall, Partner Day provided CIFOR-ICRAF with an opportunity to showcase and reflect on how its work addresses the global challenge of inequality – a central focus of its strategy for 2020-2030. The event served as a platform to celebrate existing partnerships, discuss ways to strengthen them and identify new areas for future collaboration.

CIFOR-ICRAF partners with Aga Khan Foundation for evidence-based land management practices


By Ann Wavinya

CIFOR-ICRAF and the Aga Khan Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen action research and promote the conservation and sustainability of agricultural, forest and coastal ecosystems.

The Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) has entered a five-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF).

The two organizations aim to cooperate in the sustainable use and conservation of agricultural, forestry and coastal ecosystems and in social development benefitting local communities.

“We look forward to this new partnership to strengthen action research on-the-ground,” says Leigh Ann Winowiecki, Global Research Leader of Soil and Land Health at CIFOR-ICRAF. “Specifically, the Soils Research Theme looks forward to generating the evidence base on how land management practices impact soil health across diverse landscapes and farming systems.”

The partnership will combine CIFOR-ICRAF’s global scientific research expertise with AKF’s long-standing relationships with communities to deepen their research and data.

Contact: Ann Wavinya, Communication Officer (a.wavinya@cifor-icraf.org)

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Natural resources and environmental conservation are among the important aspects in the development of the Nusantara Capital City (IKN) Forest City Plan. Conservation of forests, water, soil, and biodiversity of the area will ensure the sustainability of the city. Therefore, it is imperative that for effective implementation of conservation, engagement with all of stakeholders is in place. The right approach needs to be taken so that the conservation should be initiated properly, effectively, and efficiently. In addition, cultural aspects are equally crucial to engage with local community in conservation activities.

Nusantara National Capital Authority (OIKN) in collaboration with the Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI) and the Center for International Forestry Research – World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) will conduct a half-day discussion with the theme Culture and Conservation on the Concept of the IKN Forest City. In this discussion experts are invited to sit together and discuss how culture and conservation can support the design of the IKN Forest City.


  • Exchange of knowledge and ideas regarding strategies and the concept of developing a forest city of IKN by considering the conservation efforts and local culture
  • Provide inputs for the design and engineering of the IKN Forest City related to the role of culture and conservation of natural resources

This event will be conducted in Indonesian language without translation. Participants can join this discussion via Zoom or YouTube Livestream.




Forests and trees for adaptation workshop

Join us to discuss the contributions of forests and trees to climate adaptation action. This in-person workshop will bring together climate negotiators, NAP and adaptation focal points to explore linkages between forests and trees, cross-sectoral climate-change adaptation and global biodiversity commitments, along with data and monitoring systems to mobilize climate finance.

If you are in Bonn on 11 June and interested in joining this event, please contact Marggiori.PancorboOlivera@fao.org.

CIFOR-ICRAF is hosting several side events at the 58th Session of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies on themes including forests and trees for adaptation, forest carbon markets, net zero food systems and the future of land monitoring.

Event website


Safeguard standards in the context of reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) have received much attention as countries move towards the results-based payments phase. Provision of safeguards has also stressed the protection of rights of indigenous peoples and local communities (IPs and LCs) throughout the REDD+ process.

Indonesia – one of REDD+´s early movers – is currently in the implementation phase of two results-based payments programs, one of which has generated up to US$110 million (IDR1.6 trillion) through verified emissions reductions under the Emissions Reduction Payment Agreement between the Government of Indonesia and the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) in East Kalimantan province. Given this progress, there is a need to focus on how safeguards have been designed and are being implemented on the ground. An important part of this process is to understand the role that safeguards may have in strengthening the rights of IPs and LCs and drive change from initiatives that ‘do no harm’ to ones that ‘do better’.

As part of CIFOR-ICRAF’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+ (GCS-REDD+), we are organizing a multi-stakeholder workshop to share experiences from research and practice regarding the interpretation and implementation of REDD+ safeguards in Indonesia, including case studies in East Kalimantan and Jambi provinces. The workshop will include presentations from CIFOR-ICRAF scientists and representatives from the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry (MoEF) on their ongoing work on REDD+ safeguards in Indonesia. The workshop will also include a panel of multi-stakeholder commentators – including representatives from government, civil society, expert, and international organizations – that will lead a reflection on the opportunities, challenges and lessons learned from the REDD+ safeguards process in Indonesia, as well as what remains to be done.


Contact: Nining Liswanti (n.liswanti@cifor-icraf.org)


International and Country Dialogue on Climate-Smart Range Management

Communal rangelands are facing among the fastest and largest rates of conversion. Degradation of rangelands result in significant biodiversity loss, carbon emissions, and impact on freshwater systems. Although many human activities contribute to this problem, unsustainable agricultural production is the main driver. Moreover, there are minimum investments aimed at protection of grassland and savannah ecosystems. A lack of awareness of their value contributes to their vulnerability and has resulted in limited action on the global conservation agenda.


The overall objective of the conference is to promote exchange of experiences and foster partnerships between a wide range of actors and stakeholders on how to advance climate-smart management of communal rangelands. Specifically, the conference aims to:

  1. Create an interactive global forum for stakeholders including departments, local and international organizations to share experiences, best practices and lessons learned in building fibre industry resilience to climate shocks
  2. Serve as a platform to advance technical and practical measures towards reversing land degradation and their effective implementation
  3. Facilitate the interaction between government departments and potential development partners, including the EU, GCF, GEF and AF, as well as bilateral agencies and other relevant organizations, to enhance access to financing for supporting climate-smart rangeland management
  4. Enhance awareness of rangeland rehabilitation efforts by different organizations in Lesotho in order to foster collaboration, avoid duplication and increase impacts


A two-day international and country dialogue will be held from 23-24 May 2023. It will be held in person and online with a portion available to participate and interact virtually. The thematic areas of presentations will include but are not limited to:

  • The summary of the state of range management in Lesotho including historical background, previous policies, laws, programs and projects aimed to reverse land degradation
  • Sustainable rangeland management in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Opportunities for funding transformative climate-smart rangeland management
  • Strengthening climate services for improved management of rangeland resources
  • Ongoing research initiatives by local and regional organizations on climate-smart range management



Leigh Winowiecki

Global Research Leader: Soil and Land Health, CIFOR-ICRAF

Sissie Matela

Environmental Rural Solutions

Lerato Seleteng-Kose

National University of Lesotho (NUL)

Kenneth Mubea

Capacity Development Lead, Digital Earth Africa

CIFOR-ICRAF highlights commitment to equity under new CEO Dr Éliane Ubalijoro

By David Henry

“The work we are doing is important for the world today, but also for future generations and for the planet.”

With these opening words at Science Week 2023: Equity in Action, Dr Éliane Ubalijoro made her first public appearance as Chief Executive Officer of the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF).

Each year, CIFOR-ICRAF hosts a weeklong event that brings its staff from around the world together to establish and sustain institution-wide engagement with the critical global problems that the organization addresses.

This year’s theme of Equity in Action provided a unique opportunity to learn about CIFOR-ICRAF’s commitment to equity and inclusion, a core area of the organization’s strategy for 2020‒2030 to ensure its actions facilitate just transitions and equitable transformations.

“How we help harness the power of trees, forests and agroforestry landscapes to address the most pressing global challenges of our times – biodiversity loss, climate change, food security, livelihoods and inequality – is critical for us to embody Equity in Action,” Dr Ubalijoro said.

Participants from around the world attended the forum at the two campuses in Bogor, Indonesia, and Nairobi, Kenya, while several sessions were streamed to the public for the first time.

The topics included value chain development as a pathway to equity and inclusion; integrated approaches for inclusive landscape governance; climate justice; gender-responsive biochar innovations; and early career scientists as a catalyst for change.

CIFOR-ICRAF’s work, along with that of its partners, has been transforming how land is used and how food is produced. It has helped governments, Indigenous Peoples and local communities develop the tools they need to better conserve and restore ecosystems, and respond to climate, malnutrition, biodiversity and desertification crises.

“Moving from inequality to justice is a journey that we are all on,” Dr Ubalijoro said. “We all have, at some point, witnessed inequity in the form of unfair and avoidable differences arising from poor governance, corruption or cultural exclusion. We have also witnessed inequality in the form of uneven distribution of wealth. We cannot be passive bystanders on this journey. We cannot be witnesses to the victimization of people or the planet.”

Dr Ubalijoro recalled her own experience as a 17-year-old undergraduate student of agriculture in a non-diverse educational environment that offered little recognition of the pioneering women who had come before her. She overcame the odds, completing a master’s and PhD in molecular genetics before becoming a research scientist and professor, leading teams in the biotechnology sector, in academia and the non-profit sector, as well as advising governments.

“As an organization, it is important we recognize that achieving equity and inclusion is not just the right thing to do, but is also essential for the success of our work,” said Dr Ubalijoro.

The opening plenary also featured keynote speaker Andrew Fanning of the Doughnut Economics Action Lab, who introduced an emerging branch of ecological economics that portrays the doughnut shape as a compass of human prosperity with the aim of meeting the needs of all people within the means of the living planet.

“We are now at a point in the 21st century – because of the system we inherited – that we are dependent on constant growth of GDP,” Fanning said. “There’s this dependence upon something that actually cannot continue on a finite planet.”

The doughnut concept, created by Kate Raworth, brings Western economies back in line with the values of other cultures that have thrived in harmony with nature, aiming to correct an imbalanced world and calling for new ways of interaction.

No nation is living within the “doughnut” currently, with all of the Global North overshooting planetary boundaries, while countries such as Costa Rica are emerging as the most efficient at achieving positive social outcomes, Fanning said.

The second public plenary on 11 May explored how change in women’s agency can be measured and monitored to positively impact food systems and the environment.

Jody Harris of the World Vegetable Center examined structural inequities – involving maternal education, wealth and location – as reasons for malnourishment in countries such as India, Botswana and Honduras. Mulia Nurhasan of CIFOR-ICRAF highlighted the lack of recognition that policy makers assign to forests and trees as providers of food and nutrition for the 1.7 people in the world who depend on forests for their survival.

Steph McMullin of CIFOR-ICRAF discussed the low diversity of food in Zambia, where 54 percent of the population are malnourished. She introduced the concept of food tree portfolios, which are designed to diversify food tree species for local food production so that different types of food are available throughout the year and provide micronutrients.

Mary Crossland of CIFOR-ICRAF explained the concept of ‘agency’ – the ability to define one’s goals and act on them – so that women in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia can participate in decisions affecting their health and household purchases. Gloria Adeyiga of the Regreening Africa project elaborated on this topic with a gender-transformative approach to changing women’s agency in land restoration, outlining a case study in the Bawku West District of northern Ghana.

Swati Renduchintala of CIFOR-ICRAF rounded up the session with a talk on the feminisation of agriculture through measuring women’s agency in agroecological approaches to natural farming in India, a holistic method of leveraging photosynthesis in plants to close the carbon cycle, improve soil health and enable better water availability.

“At the end of the day, our work is about how we are empowering smallholder farmers and everyone around that ‘last mile,’ such as Indigenous People and local communities,” CEO Ubalijoro said in closing the session. “What is humbling for us as scientists is to ask: How are we affecting mindsets, culture and behavioural change? Those are really critical elements that are going to help bring about the needed transformation.”

The final day featured a public session with speakers from the Global Landscapes Forum, including leaders of youth-led programmes. They focused on the learnings from GLF’s connection with local communities, highlighting the importance of linking scientific knowledge and expertise with local knowledge and action to catalyze just transformations and thriving landscapes.

“The knowledge, the innovative tools, and the scientific methodologies from GLF, CIFOR and ICRAF have helped us in shaping our restoration project to become more evidence- and scientific-based,” said Frances Camille Rivera, who participated in the session and was GLF Wetlands Restoration Steward in 2021.

To watch Dr Éliane Ubalijoro’s keynote speech and more, visit the Science Week event page.

The annual GFOI Plenary brings together the global community of practitioners who support tropical countries in forest monitoring and associated emissions Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) procedures.


Policy makers, donors and the private sector are increasing bilateral. multilateral and market-based funding to harness the potential for forest-based climate mitigation. The voluntary carbon market has boomed lately; companies are interested in investing in REDD+ and other nature-based climate solutions. Simultaneously, forest carbon offsets also face fierce criticism for frequent lack of additionality (inflated reference levels and poor performance), greenwashing of private sector emissions, and thus slowing the energy transition away from fossil fuels, while allegedly ignoring broader socio- environmental goals. This side-event will highlight both the concerns and objections raised, and the potential benefits of forest carbon credits, and options for designing crediting system to mitigate those concerns and maximize the wide portfolio of benefits that may be achieve through REDD+. Accurate and transparent measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of emissions is a vital part of forest carbon market. Any effectiveness assessment needs to validate the additionality by comparing an observed outcome with a hypothetical counterfactual (business-as-usual scenario). Establishing a counterfactual that discriminates confounding effects is key to high-quality forest carbon credits. However, we have too few rigorous impact assessments of REDD+ effectiveness, which has contributed to the absence of clear guidance on good implementation practices. This posts challenges to stakeholders in committing themselves more to forest carbon mitigation to meet targets for emissions reductions and market-based solutions.

This session brings together globally leading experts to:

  • share the latest scientific findings on the effectiveness of forest carbon projects, based on CIFOR’s long-term Global Comparative Study on REDD+ (2009-2023) ·      
  • strengthen the community of practice to foster learning and collaboration amongst scientists and practitioners in refining and improving MRV system for forest mitigation policies.
  • discuss the challenges and prospective solutions in moving towards high-integrity forest carbon credits and effective forest-based mitigation of climate change.

The section will be organized in a hybrid format and consist of keynote presentations, followed up by panel discussion and interaction between speakers and audiences.

Event link

Meeting ID: 985 9116 1211
Passcode: 77931189

Event website


Erin Sills

North Carolina State University and CIFOR-ICRAF senior associate

Sven Wunder

European Forest Institute and CIFOR – ICRAF senior associate

Arild Angelsen

Norwegian University of Life Sciences and CIFOR-ICRAF senior associate

Kevin Brown

Wildlife Conservation Society

Pham Thu Thuy

Team Leader, Climate Change, Energy and Low-carbon Development, CIFOR-ICRAF


Sven Wunder

European Forest Institute and CIFOR – ICRAF senior associate